The Trials And Tribulations Of Lucas Lessar
by Shauna Seliy
Lucas Lessar's great-grandfather arrived in Pennsylvania with a handful of pear seeds and a pocketful of introductions with which to make his fortune - and one name on his lips. He has told this story every Christmas, as Lucas's sprawling family throw kutya up to the ceiling to see if it will stick and bring good luck, and share shots of homemade pear brandy from the enchanted tree outside. But this year is different. It is 1974- the year Lucas turns thirteen. The year his mother Mirjana disappears. The year Zoli from the plate-glass factory goes mad for love. There used to be mines all along the Pittsburg coal seam, but now there's only one left- King Mine, where Lucas's father Jimmy was blown up a few years back. These days Lucas lives with Slats, his feisty, sharp-tongued grandmother, watched over by his five immensely strong great-uncles. He visits great-grandfather too, with his intellectual goat Valentina and Russian house-devil Tot-to; and this strange world seem inexplicable to Lucas, although perhaps not as incomprehensible as where Mirjana might be. School is tough too, and as he slides from the front of the classroom to the back, Lucas can see the plate-glass cracking at the factory. And soon he starts to have a sense of something else cracking, something like burnt branches, broken fences, lost voices, something maybe only a miracle can fix... Set against the collapse of an industry that has sustained an immigrant community for generations, this is a beautiful atmospheric yet startling tale of one family's long winter - and the promise of spring that might eventually emerge ...
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